Haas team principal Guenther Steiner has admitted that there’s no hard feelings with AlphaTauri driver Daniel Ricciardo, who rejected a move to the American side last season.When it was confirmed last season that Ricciardo would be departing McLaren, it was reported that Haas offered the fan favourite an escape route.Haas were keen for the Australian to replace Mick Schumacher, who wasn’t going to be offered a new contract.
Ricciardo ultimately decided to take a sabbatical in 2023, which was recently brought to an abrupt end following Nyck de Vries’ firing.Ricciardo returned to Red Bull for 2023 as a development driver, before the Austrians loaned him to their sister team to complete the season, starting from the recent Hungarian Grand Prix where he claimed P13.
His return to the Red Bull family is seemingly part of a bigger plan to race for the Milton Keynes-based team again one day, something Steiner is aware of. Steiner hasn’t got any issues with Ricciardo following his decision to reject Haas, with the Italian noting that the 34-year-old is a “very good guy” and has “talent” despite his poor 2022 campaign.
“Obviously he had a plan what he wanted to do and it worked out for him,” Steiner told the media, including RacingNews365.com. “I think Daniel is a very good guy and he’s won races. He had a tough season last year, not an easy one the year before, and sometimes you need to take a step back to [make] two forward.”
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“Everybody needs to do a decision they want to make. We did one last year, everybody has got an opinion on what we did when we didn’t extend one of our drivers,” the Haas boss explained.
“If a team decides that is the best way to move forward for them? I have no opinion on it. They know what they’re doing. I think they are fully qualified to do it. “Obviously having Daniel in the stable makes the decision a lot easier. Daniel had a tough year last year, but they always said he’s won races before, so there must be talent.”